Oh brother — the Despicable Me franchise is back yet again with Despicable Me 3, and this time Gru has a long-lost twin brother, Dru.
Despicable Me 3 is familiar yet fun at the same time. There’s the recognizable plot line of a long-lost twin when Gru (Steve Carell) finds out he has a twin brother, Dru (Carell), supervisor of the family pig business, which is merely a coverup for the ancient family history of villainy, much to Gru’s surprise. The two brother supervillains (or superheroes?) out on a quest together, mixed in with Gru’s three daughters’ amusing antics and his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) discovering her role as a mom to the girls, makes for an absolutely madcap romp through Fredonia and the world of heroes and villains.
Despite the critically unsuccessful Minions movie, the love-’em or hate-’em yellow fellows return, bent on returning to the glory days when Gru was a villain; therefore, they tempt Gru to try to push him back to his old ways before abandoning him when he refuses.
The film starts with Gru and Lucy on a chase to stop Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former 80’s kid star seeking revenge on Hollywood after his TV show “Evil Bratt” was unceremoniously cancelled when he entered his teen years. For his evil plan, Bratt borrows an episode from his show which involves stealing the world’s largest diamond to destroy Hollywood.
Gru, a changed man — and now a family man, for that matter — wants to stop this atrocity and employs the help of his twin, Dru. Meanwhile, the girls, Lucy and the minions take a backseat, as the story is overwhelmingly focused on Gru and Dru. Because of this sidelining, the minions don’t come across as quite so annoying due to their limited screen time, and their jailhouse scenes are actually pretty cute.
Carell’s voice work as both Gru and Dru is humorous, with the slightly different voices adequately playing to each brother’s personality and character. Amusingly, the voices are The Office-esque and reminiscent of Michael Scott doing a bad impression, and that’s why it works well for Gru and Dru.
The franchise has been alive so long that its target audience is all over the place, as it adds in plenty of bathroom jokes for the new generation of viewers but also tries to attract teen moviegoers and parents who started out with the first Despicable Me back in 2010 with Bratt’s 80’s jokes and odd fashion sense. However, rather than simply go over kids’ heads, it’s so over-the-top that it’s probably going to just confuse them.
As the fourth entry (including the Minions movie) in the franchise, Despicable Me 3 is pretty tired — as few cartoons can last that long, save Toy Story, without feeling worn down. Nevertheless, being Illumination Entertainment’s biggest moneymaker by far, Despicable Me 3 seems like it’s set up for another sequel, but I’m not so sure they’ll be able to pull off another decent movie for the franchise.
However, it’s far from a flop. It’s not as good as Despicable Me 2, but viewers will likely laugh-out-loud a few times, and its pure, childlike humor is refreshing to see.
It’s not top-notch comedy, but it’s a pretty good, lighthearted movie for a family outing. Despicable Me-fans will love it; cynics won’t. For the average moviegoer, it gets a recommendation, barely, to see in theaters, though you might be better off waiting until it comes out on DVD.
Photo courtesy of Illumination Entertainment